Two-time Emmy-award winning composer/arranger Hummie Mann has collaborated with some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors in both theatrical and television films. His motion pictures projects have ranged from Mel Brooks' ?Robin Hood: Men in Tights? to Peter Yates' ?Year of the Comet?, the children's film ?Thomas and the Magic Railroad? to ?Wooly Boys? directed by Leszek Burzynski starring Peter Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine and Joe Mazzello. For television, he has scored projects for Simon Wincer (the miniseries ?P.
. Barnum?), Jonathan Kaplan (the miniseries re-make of ?In Cold Blood?), Norman Jewison (?Picture Windows?), Peter Bogdanovich (?The Rescuers: Tales of Courage - Two Women?), Joe Dante (?Masters of Horror: Homecoming?), Jim Abrahams (?First Do No Harm?), Richard Friedenberg (?Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas?), William Friedkin, John Milius and Ralph Bakshi (all part of the ?Rebel Highway? series), among others.
Mann was honored with his second Emmy Award for an episode of Showtime's Picture Windows entitled ?Language of the Heart?, a love story about a street musician and an aspiring ballerina. The composer's score so impressed director Jonathan Kaplan that Kaplan hired him to write the music for CBS's ?In Cold Blood? starring Anthony Edwards and Eric Roberts.
The four-hour miniseries, based on the Truman Capote classic about two young drifters and the murder of a Midwestern family, demanded an unorthodox musical approach. Mann took the lyrics actually written by one of the killers (an amateur songwriter) and set them to music; the songs thus became the heart of the score, which was played by a handful of instruments including mandolin, dobro and bottleneck blues guitar supported by electronic textures.
Kaplan says that Oscar-winning movie-music legend Jerry Goldsmith recommended Mann as a composer with a strong sense of melody and a genuine command of the orchestra. Adds Kaplan: "It's very rare that you can find someone who is as gifted as Hummie is, and as motivated and easy to work with."
In the world of Independent films, Mann scored ?Falltime? for first time director Paul Warner starring Mickey Rourke, Stephen Baldwin and Sheryl Lee. That film premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Mann has also scored films by two well-known screenwriters making their initial forays into directing. He composed a contemporary jazz-rock score for the coming-of-age story ?Sticks & Stones? by Neil Tolkin, and also scored the short film ?The Red Coat? for Little Women writer Robin Swicord.
Twice Mann has collaborated with legendary comedy director Mel Brooks. His first Brooks score was for ?Robin Hood: Men in Tights?, which NBC-TV critic Gene Shalit singled out for praise, likening it to the legendary Erich Wolfgang Korngold's scores for the classic swashbucklers of the '30s and '40s. He also scored Brooks' next film- ?Dracula: Dead & Loving It? which starred Leslie Nielsen.
The grand-scale symphonic music for Brooks' two film parodies contrasts sharply with Mann's acoustic-guitar-based score for the Donald Sutherland-Amy Irving thriller ?Benefit of the Doubt?, and the soaring, charming music for Peter Yates' ?Year of the Comet?, which combined orchestral sounds with Scottish ethnic elements. Yates, the director of Bullitt and The Deep, found "a freshness and energy" in Mann's music for ?Year of the Comet?. The periodical ?Film Score Monthly? named this score as one of the ?Ten Most Underrated Scores of the Decade? and it was nominated in the category of Best Score ? Drama or Romantic Drama in the 1992 UK Moviemusic Awards.
Among Mann's most provocative projects have been two series for Showtime: ?Picture Windows?, which Norman Jewison executive-produced and which enabled the composer to collaborate with Jewison, Kaplan, Dante and Bob Rafelson; and ?Rebel Highway?, a series of drive-in-movie remakes by Kaplan, Friedkin, Milius, Dante, Ralph Bakshi, John McNaughton, Mary Lambert and Uli Edel. Mann also composed the main title theme music for both series.
Mann co-produced the Marc Shaiman scores for such hits as ?Sleepless in Seattle?, ?A Few Good Men? and ?Mr. Saturday Night?, and both orchestrated and conducted the Shaiman scores for ?City Slickers? and ?The Addams Family?. His orchestrations can also heard in such films as ?Speechless?, ?Addams Family Values?, ?Misery?, ?Sister Act?, ?Dying Young?, and ?For the Boys? and he co-arranged the song ?Places That Belong to You? for Barbra Streisand's best-selling ?Prince of Tides? soundtrack album. He also composed the Carl Stalling-style underscore for ?Box Office Bunny?, the first theatrical Bugs Bunny cartoon released in 26 years.
In television, Mann composed the main title theme and underscore for Rob Reiner's cult series ?Morton & Hayes?. He received two Emmy nominations for his arrangements on the popular ?Moonlighting? series, and received an Emmy Award for arranging Billy Crystal's opening number for the ?1992 Academy Awards? telecast.
For the legit theater, Mann arranged new material for Debbie Reynolds' tour of ?The Unsinkable Molly Brown?. He created new arrangements for Pia Zadora in the Long Beach Civic Light Opera's production of ?Funny Girl?, and has arranged music for several other Southern California stage productions including ?Babes in Toyland?, ?Kiss Me Kate?, ?The Merry Widow? and Cloris Leachman's ?Perfectly Frank?. His original children's theater musical adaptation of Prokofiev's ?Peter and the Wolf? premiered at the Seattle Children's Theater in 2006 for an extremely successful run of over 110 performances. In 2007 it will be playing at Childsplay in Arizona and the Des Moines Playhouse in Iowa.
Born in Montreal, Mann began studying music at the age of seven. He learned to play not only the piano, but also recorder, guitar, clarinet and oboe. He graduated magna cum laude in 1976 from Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music and moved in 1980 to Los Angeles, where he began orchestrating and composing for such top-rated series as ?Fame?, ?Moonlighting?, ?Knots Landing?, ?ALF? and ?The Simpsons?. In early 1998 Berklee Faculty member and world renowned vibraphonist Gary Burton presented Mann with Berklee's Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Besides his busy composing career, Mann is also the principal instructor of the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program and a guest lecturer at Napier University in Scotland as well as Artlab in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has twice visited China as a guest artist of the Chinese government meeting with students, film makers and composers. He is a board member and founding president of the Seattle Composers Alliance and a governor of the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.